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15+ UNSPOKEN RULES Tourists Always Break in Dublin

If you wanna avoid making rookie touristic mistakes when exploring Ireland’s capital then you should familiarise yourself with some of these known yet unspoken rules in Dublin!

Whenever I am in the city, I see visitors break these rules ALL THE TIME, and some of them are not a obvious as you may think!

1. Buses don’t stop just because someone is waiting at the bus stop!

It can be easy to presume that standing at the bus stop is enough to hitch a ride on Dublin bus but that presumption is a big mistake to make!

In fact, pretty much every time I am in Dublin, I see tourists standing at a bus stop looking confused because the bus driver drove on pass them despite arriving 20 minutes early at the stop.

If you take any rule from this list, let it be this one! You MUST hail the bus as it approaches the stop. To do this, place one hand out towards the road or give the driver a little way as he approaches.

2. There are correct ways to use swinging doors in public spaces

If you find yourself in a shopping centre or a public space, it is essential that you check to see if anyone else is following you through a swinging door.

It is my pet peeve when the person before me just let’s the door slam in my face. And if I am being honest, it’s a sure fire way to piss off any locals you may meet.

Once you open the door, look behind you and make sure no one else is looking to pass through it. If there is someone, hold the door until they get to it. Don’t let it slam. It’s really rude.

And, on the other hand, if someone holds the door open for you, be sure to grab it from them. Don’t just walk through expecting them to stand there like a personal door-holder.

3. Not all questions need an answer

Ok, so I need to explain this one a little bit. When exploring the city, odd’s are you’ll be greeted by a local at some stage. They will more than likely say something along the lines of, ‘how is it going?’ or ‘how are you doing?’.

When you hear this, the local isn’t really looking for an answer, these statements are more like a greeting rather than an opening to have a conversation.

Now, a conversation may still come from this, but the topic will more than likely not be what you expect. Because, these questions are more equivalent to saying hi.

Another common one is ‘how are ya?’ but in the Irish accent it kind of blends into one word, which will sound something like ‘howeya’ depending on where in the country the person is from.

4. Traffic lights (for pedestrians) are more so guidelines than rules

Irish people tend to not take traffic lights all too seriously when walking. If the light is red, but there is an opening on the road, then we will walk. ‘Jaywalking’ is very much a done thing in Dublin you are not going to receive a fine for crossing the road without permission.

However, in saying that, it’s not always wise to do as the locals do because the reality is visitors are not used to how our road system works and the last thing you want is to be involved in an accident while on your holidays.

5. Everything is only around the corner

When in Dublin, odds are you are going to find yourself stopped asking a local for directions to your next activity or restaurant reservation.

And the problem with that is, pretty much everything in Ireland is ‘only around the corner’. Let me explain, we Irish like to stretch the truth a little, and if you ask us where something is, we often reply with ‘ah, sure that’s only around the corner’. Sounds convenient, right? Well, it could mean anything from a brisk 5-minute walk to a 35-minute trek across the city. You never really know.

So, the rule here is, don’t just ask for directions. Ask three locals, take an average, then add 15 minutes for good measure! (jokes, kind of).

Or maybe be more direct by asking, “how far of a walk is that?”. You’ll probably get a more precise answer… or at least a more creative one!

6. There are more ‘public’ toilets than you may expect

Now, don’t get too excited, but when nature calls unexpectedly, you might have more options than you think.

Contrary to popular belief, you can use the toilets in a nearby pub without having to buy a drink. It’s like the golden rule of pub bathrooms: “Come for the toilet, stay for the beer…or not.”

I’ve never been stopped doing this, no matter where I am in the country. Of course, it’s always nice to buy something small after using the facilities, but honestly, who’s keeping track?

7. The weather forcast is just a guideline

I’m not entirely certain this qualifies as a “rule,” but here it goes: never, and I mean NEVER, fully trust the weather forecast in Dublin.

Just presume there is a high chance of rain at any point of the day unless you are lucky enough to visit durning one of Ireland rare but stunning heat waves.

Ireland is known for getting 4 seasons in the one day and unfortunately, it is not just a stereotype.

8. You MUST say thank you to the bus driver

In Ireland, not thanking the bus driver is considered as shocking as pouring milk in a mug before the tea bag!

Even since 2020, when Dublin bus started letting passengers out the back door of the busses, you still you will hear 99% of people shout up the bus to thank the bus driver for the journey.

It’s a really lovely touch, a custom I hope we keep forever.

9. Give a little smile if you lock eyes with someone

Ok, so Ireland it is common to acknowledge people as you pass them in the street. Just a little nod or smile will suffice.

However, due to the large span of people that travel in and out of Dublin each day it would be near impossible to greet everyone you come across.

But with that being said, if you do happen to lock eyes with the person facing you, it’s common to give them a little smile and then continue on your way.

This isn’t really a rule, more so a custom, but it is something most Irish people do. Yes, even in Dublin.

10. You can not purchase Alcohol after 10pm

If you are looking to have a quite night in your hotel or Airbnb but wouldn’t mind a few alcoholic beverages to see the day through.

Then this is a rule that you should be aware of. It is not possible to buy alcohol in any off-licence premisses in Ireland after 10pm, this includes supermarkets.

So, if you are planning to have a few cold bears or a bottle of wine it’s best to be organised or you may end up in the pub ‘just for one’.

11. Umbrellas are for tourists

If there’s one thing that separates the locals from the tourists in Dublin, it’s the use of umbrellas. Sure, some Irish people use umbrellas, but only the odd few.

We are basically just used to the rain, if I am being honest, sometimes I don’t even notice it 🤣 Either that, or we have somehow evolved to be more waterproof than the average human… or maybe we’re just too stubborn to admit we’re getting wet!

If it’s raining, we’ll usually make a run for it, or shelter in a nearby pub, shop or café till it stops. If it’s down for the day, we’re far more likely to bring a rain jacket. It’s far more convenient to carry around, and then there’s no need to battle with the infamous Irish wind.

12. Bar service does not exist (for the most part)

Nine times out of ten when you walk into an Irish bar you order your drink at the bar itself. Table service is quite uncommon to see in Ireland.

I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, you may come across a bus boy or girl in pubs that are more busy but the rule of thumb is get your own drinks.

13. Dublin is NOT part of the UK

This one goes without saying, but Dublin is in no way shape or forum part of the United Kingdom.

The Irish fought long and hard for our independence and it is so frustrating to have tourists consistently call us British. We aren’t and we don’t take it lightly.

So, let this be a rule, Dublin is part of Ireland. End of, no discussion needed.

14. Chicken Fillet Rolls cure all hangovers

If you’ve partied a bit too hard the night before and find yourself in a battle with a bannging hangover, then I have a cure for you.

One thing our supermarkets do right is having a fresh deli counter, filled with some healthy and some not so healthy sandwich toppings.

In the morning if you find yourself a little worse for ware after downing a few pints the night before stumble your way to the local shop and ask for a hot chicken fillet roll. I promise, you will be feeling as good as new after eating it!

Generally speaking, you can add as many toppings as you want (but the price will go up), I recommend some stuffing, cheddar cheese and lettuce 💛

16. Hands Off Molly!

Molly Malone, made famous by the Irish folk song that describes the heart-ship of the once local lady.

It is perhaps one of the most iconic statutes in Dublin’s fair city and a highly visited tourist attraction!

But, there is one STRANGE thing that tourists do to poor Molly, and that touch her breasts! God love her, she’s standing there, working hard selling her cockles and mussels. The last thing she needs is a group of tourists touching her.

Some believe’s it will bring them good look, but honestly, it’s just a weird thing to do.

Ah, Molly Malone, the iconic statue of Dublin’s fair city. Know from the famous Irish folk song, So, do Molly a favour, and keep your hands to yourself. Remember, she’s a lady, not a wishing well!

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